SRM-buffer: An OS buffer management technique to prevent last level cache from thrashing in multicores

Xiaoning Ding, Kaibo Wang, Xiaodong Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

29 Scopus citations


Buffer caches in operating systems keep active file blocks in memory to reduce disk accesses. Related studies have been focused on how to minimize buffer misses and the caused performance degradation. However, the side effects and performance implications of accessing the data in buffer caches (i.e. buffer cache hits) have not been paid attention. In this paper, we show that accessing buffer caches can cause serious performance degradation on multicores, particularly with shared last level caches (LLCs). There are two reasons for this problem. First, data in files normally have weaker localities than data objects in virtual memory spaces. Second, due to the shared structure of LLCs on multicore processors, an application accessing the data in a buffer cache may flush the to-be-reused data of its co-running applications from the shared LLC and significantly slow down these applications. The paper proposes a buffer cache design called Selected Region Mapping Buffer (SRM-buffer) for multicore systems to effectively address the cache pollution problem caused by OS buffer. SRM-buffer improves existing OS buffer management with an enhanced page allocation policy that carefully selects mapping physical pages upon buffer misses. For a sequence of blocks accessed by an application, SRM-buffer allocates physical pages that are mapped to a selected region consisting of a small portion of sets in LLC. Thus, when these blocks are accessed, cache pollution is effectively limited within the small cache region. We have implemented a prototype of SRM-buffer into Linux kernel, and tested it with extensive workloads. Performance evaluation shows SRM-buffer can improve system performance and decrease the execution times of workloads by up to 36%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEuroSys'11 - Proceedings of the EuroSys 2011 Conference
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event6th ACM EuroSys Conference on Computer Systems, EuroSys 2011 - Salzburg, Austria
Duration: Apr 10 2011Apr 13 2011

Publication series

NameEuroSys'11 - Proceedings of the EuroSys 2011 Conference


Other6th ACM EuroSys Conference on Computer Systems, EuroSys 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering


  • Design
  • Performance


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